Grieving realistically portrayed?

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Grieving realistically portrayed?

Post  Elanor on Sat May 28, 2011 11:55 am

Grieving realistically portrayed?

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

lemonbalm&bees - Jun 1, 2005 9:34 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 17, 2005 2:55 pm
->I simply took a hyphen out of the title. It was 'Grieving-realistically portrayed?'.<- S.E. Jones

I'm new to this forum thing, and I'm not sure if this would belong better in another thread or not, but I thought I'd like to share it anyway. It's a bit longwinded, but I promise it does have a point.

Alright, so I’ve been hearing a lot of people giving Cho a hard time (mostly on my Hogwarts facebook group…). She has been criticized both for her seemingly capricious attitude concerning boys and her dramatically emotional scenes in front of Harry. As to the former, I am willing to excuse her based on her age. However, Cho’s reaction to Cedric’s death got me thinking as I was reading the last few chapters of The Order of the Phoenix.

I’m not exactly sure what psychologist-type-person came up with this idea, but supposedly most people follow a path through stages when they suffer a loss in their lives. The five stages of grief are known as 1: denial - numbness, shock 2: anger - aggression, assigning blame 3: bargaining - what can I do reverse this? 4: depression - isolation, crying, lack of energy and former interests 5: acceptance - peaceful realization of reality, never achieved by some

From all that I have read, it seems that JK Rowling is no stranger to loss and grief. She understands what a person goes through and tries to present it within her characters in a realistic and mature fashion.

Let’s look at Harry in the last four chapters of The Order of the Phoenix.

Immediately after Sirius falls, Harry is in denial, believing that he has just fallen through to the other side. If someone were to just fall through a “tattered black curtain or veil” (OP 34), we would naturally expect to see even as little as a foot or leg remaining on our side of the archway, I am thinking. However, Harry persists in trying to find what he can obviously see is not there. “Sirius must be just behind the curtain, he, Harry, would pull him back out again… ‘We can still reach him’” (OP35). As Lupin drags him away, he struggles against reality, yelling “He hasn’t gone!” (OP36).

Anger does not take long to set in. “SHE KILLED SIRIUS… I’LL KILL HER!” (OP 36). Harry’s rage at losing Sirius takes him the closest to actual brutality that we have seen so far, I think. As much as I am sure we would all like to see Bellatrix get her comeuppance, I’m rather glad the Voldemort/Dumbledore duel took over the scene, or we might have a hero with prematurely bloodied hands. This anger continues in the scene in Dumbledore’s office where Harry is both destructive and accusing, even irrationally at times. “Harry felt the white-hot anger lick his insides, blazing in the terrible emptiness, filling him with the desire to hurt Dumbledore for his calmness and empty words” (OP37). “He felt a savage pleasure in blaming Snape, it seemed to be easing his own dreadful sense of guilt” (OP 37).

Harry’s depression and bargaining stages are sort of intertwined. It might be best to say that he goes straight into depression with a brief burst of bargaining. The somber mood that will follow him to the end of the book is best presented as he reflects by the lake “with the terrible weight of grief dragging at him… wiping his face on his sleeve as he went” (OP 38). Suddenly, though he has a flash of inspiration: maybe there is some way that he can reverse this loss. He tries the mirror and the ghosts, almost as if the comfort of denial is calling him back, a last attempt of saving Sirius. In my opinion, Harry has not quite reached the stage of acceptance by the end of Phoenix. This is alright: he has only been a week without Sirius, and he is showing signs that he will eventually come to terms with his loss. On the train home, he speaks relatively little, and seems to see things “stretched across two universes, the one with Sirius in it, and the one without” (OP 38) indicating that he is not yet able to move on completely. He’s still depressed, not even caring what Cho thinks about him anymore. “So much of what he had wanted
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Grieving realistically portrayed? (Post 1 to 50)

Post  Elanor on Sat May 28, 2011 11:56 am

fleur-de-lys - Jun 2, 2005 5:35 am (#1 of 92)
I just read your post, Lemonbalm&bees, and am wondering is there is supposed to be more. It seems to end in the middle of a sentence. Or am I just missing something, which is entirely possible?

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lemonbalm&bees - Jun 2, 2005 8:27 am (#2 of 92)

"This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything." ~D.A.
Fleur- thanks for catching me- I am too wordy even for myself. The conclusion and the entire point of this post is the following...

What I am interested to see is how, in The Half Blood Prince, he progresses towards acceptance and how, if at all, his view towards Cho changes. I’m not even talking about this from a romantic perspective. Throughout Phoenix, he was always a little annoyed that she seemed to “act like a human hosepipe” (OP 25). Cho had not yet arrived at acceptance about Cedric’s death and seems to need to talk about it to get there, a need towards which Harry is a bit uncooperative. Will he look back at Cho and be able to empathize? To realize what she was going through? Perhaps re-evaluate his actions toward her? Only time (forty three days of it, as a matter of fact) will tell.

I don't know... maybe we'll see a bit of a perspective change from Harry. Growing maturity... yadda yadda blah...?

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HungarianHorntail11 - Jun 2, 2005 10:26 am (#3 of 92)

The heart sees deeper than the eye.
maybe we'll see a bit of a perspective change from Harry

I hope so, as he was clueless when it came to Cho. It seems to be a maturity thing. Usually, being thrust into the throes of tragedy, people tend to mature.

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applepie - Jun 2, 2005 2:25 pm (#4 of 92)

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much." -- Oscar Wilde
I definitely think that Harry will change his perspective about Cho's actions regarding Cedric's death. I would have to wonder about Harry if his perspective didn't change. I would expect Harry to approach Cho at some point in the book and apologize for not understanding her emotional breakdowns, and the two of them to confide in each other much more. This may force their friendship to grow, since they share a common denominator.

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Ms Amanda - Jun 2, 2005 4:53 pm (#5 of 92)

I think he and Ron will outgrow their teaspoon-sized emotional range and realize that adults grieve, too. I don't see Harry apologizing for his lack of understanding, though.

I'm believe Harry really had a warped vision of grief because he's never had a chance to talk to Petunia about her sister. We learn how to handle loss through a role model. Harry only fully appreciated that Petunia had lost her sister to a murderer in OotP.

And I don't believe Dumbledore will the role model for him either. I'm sorry, but Dumbledore is much too calm, and Harry had to realize that it is okay to express loss through tears. I think he needs to spend time with Arthur and Molly Weasley. I'd like him to realize that Cho was not insulting Harry when she cried.

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Hollywand - Jun 2, 2005 6:06 pm (#6 of 92)

Gryffindor
If you look at the Occlumency lessons between Harry and Snape, Severus is able to tap right into: the black dragon, Cedric's death. Harry has a breakdown at that point.

Harry clings to Cedric's dead body after the event at Little Hangleton, and must be prised from Cedric's dead body. Harry feels responsible for Cedric's death, as well as the death of Sirius Black, his godfather.

Cho's emotional style romantically and the resolution of Harry's feelings toward Cedric may be two separate strains in the story, I would think. Cho's patronus, the white swan, and her remark to Harry that he should not be a "killjoy" may mean we should watch out for her safety.

I see Dumbledore's silent love in the closing scene of Order of the Phoenix. Harry in effect lights Dumbledore's office aflame with his anger, destroying what Dumbledore has accumulated. Harry will get no resistance from Albus. "By all means, destroy it, I have far too many objects" to paraphrase his understanding of Harry's vitriolic anger. Dumbledore will rise from the ashes. As will Harry. And Fawkes. I just see Dumbledore muttering "reparo" when Harry leaves his office.

The Dursleys have put such a value on objects above Harry's welfare, it is fitting that Dumbledore should care not for his magical instruments, care not for the Philosopher's Stone, care not for them above his love for Harry, Hogwarts, the wizarding world. That is the mark of the Order of the Phoenix.

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Ms Amanda - Jun 2, 2005 6:17 pm (#7 of 92)

Oh, I very much agree Hollywand. I see how my comments would tend toward DD's office at the end of OotP, but I'm really comparing Dumbledore's outward displays of emotion to Molly and Arthur's displays.

I see Harry's witness to Molly's breakdowns in OotP as beneficial to Harry. No one criticizes Molly for her fears, and her reactions are very understandable and in no way immature. Harry sees trusted adults comforting her.

I'm actually quite grateful that it is not Arthur that first finds Molly after the boggart scene. Harry learns that you do not have to be involved romantically in order to comfort someone.

Why do I equate Molly's worst fear with grieving? Well, because Molly's brothers were killed in the first war. As a part of her grief and dealing with death, she's fearing the death of other people close to her. Expect Harry to have to deal with the same fear.

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Puck - Jun 2, 2005 6:37 pm (#8 of 92)

Mommy, Queen of Everything
I am fairly certain that if Harry comes to acceptance in HBP it will not be until well into the book. I mean, the Dursley's will likely not help him over his greif, and I get the felling that whatever reason he leaves for will be more of a distraction, not a healing time. It could be that he never reaches that stage in this book, especially if he looses someone else before he gets the chance. At this point, I don't think he ever really gave him self time to cope with what happened to Cedric, though talking to Rita and telling his story likely helped. He has so much to come to terms with, I just hope he can manage it before something else falls on his plate.

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zelmia - Jun 2, 2005 8:48 pm (#9 of 92)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Just in case anyone is interested, I believe it was Elizabeth Kubler Ross who identified/coined the 5 stages of grief. She died fairly recently.

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frogface - Jun 3, 2005 2:22 am (#10 of 92)

I think the person who will be able to comfort Harry most is Lupin. Lupin also lost James, Lily, Sirius (and Peter in a way) and most likely lost others. Also while Lupin seems calm, I think is because he has learnt how to move on rather than constantly grieve for his friends. He seems an incredibly well balanced man to me considering the way he has suffered. I don't think Harry will mind Remus talking to him about the death of Sirius because he knows Lupin will understand.

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Ruthie - Jun 3, 2005 3:08 am (#11 of 92)

I like your idea frogface I think Lupin would be great for Harry. I just hope Harry doesn't lose him too....

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applepie - Jun 3, 2005 7:16 am (#12 of 92)

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much." -- Oscar Wilde
I think Harry needs several different types of personalities to help him deal with his loss.

He needs Molly and Arthur to show him the outward emotional aspects of grieving.

He needs Lupin, who was probably closest to Sirius, to share in his tremendous loss.

He needs Dumbledore, whom he respects beyond compare, to be his rock. The person you know will always listen to you. But, Dumbledore knows Harry needs to move on, and prepare for what is ahead. I don't expect Dumbledore to fully succumb to Harry's depression, because as much as he cares for Harry, he knows he cannot protect him from death, and death is inevitably ahead.

He needs his classmates, peers on his level of thinking, to support him.

He needs his professors to keep him moving ahead, keep reminding him that life must go on. He must realize that no matter how great your loss, the whole world does not stop because your loved one dies...even though you feel it should.

The point I am trying to make is that no one person is going to help Harry overcome his grief. While Harry is desparately looking for a Father-figure, he fails to realize that fathers come in all types of personalities. Some fathers are consoling, some are rigid and will not show emotion, some suffer silently, and so on and so forth. I think Harry needs to stop looking for any one person to help him close the gaps in his life.

I think part of maturity is knowing that everyone you meet contributes to you life in some way, no matter how nominal that contribution might be.

Sorry to ramble...hope you got the gist of what I wanted to say!

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Finn BV - Jun 3, 2005 7:20 am (#13 of 92)

Me kayaking, Niagara River, August 2006. I have been likened to Reepicheep in this photo.
Also while Lupin seems calm, I think is because he has learnt how to move on rather than constantly grieve for his friends. --frogface

You could add to that, that he has also experienced grievance within himself because of his unusual disability. He has learned to calm himself before and after his transformation to a werewolf – perhaps Lupin will learn in future books to calm himself without the Wolfsbane Potion, and then be able to help Harry. Harry will need to calm himself, because he can, much more than Lupin.

Great idea for a thread, lemonbalm&bees!

EDIT: cross-posted with applepie!

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Vulture - Jun 3, 2005 11:17 am (#14 of 92)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Edited Jun 3, 2005 12:29 pm
Just my own opinion, but I think that the 5-stages-of-grief thing, like a lot of psychologists' stuff, is more cut and dried than real life. Yes, grieving people do experience these emotions, but not necessarily all of them, and not necessarily in that order.

As regards Cho and Harry _ some of ye seem to be a bit over-critical of Harry, possibly to compensate for Cho getting a hard time as mentioned in the first post.

This is roughly the Cho-Harry situation as I see it: I'm not saying that one or the other is the better for having suffered more, but I do feel that when Harry snaps at her (in their last quarrel, Book 5) that he "has enough to cope with", he unconsciously makes a crucial point _ it's nobody's fault, but he has more to cope with than Cho. Most of us probably don't think about this when they first meet (Bk. 3), when she's going out with Cedric in Bk. 4, after Cedric's death, and when she gets together with Harry, but I imagine that most of us do start thinking about it after Marietta's betrayal, because it's the first time we have a chance to compare Cho's reactions to two different events (Cedric's death, and Marietta's ratting on her DA comrades).

Harry has been through a lot of heavy stuff before Cedric even dies. In Book 1, I think both he and the reader come out at the end pretty much feeling that it's all been a jolly adventure. In Book 2, it starts to get heavy: nobody dies, but when Ginny is taken, I defy any reader not to feel a little bit of the general grief. I mean, even the ice-cold Snape "grips his chair very hard" and then explodes at Lockhart, speaking at that moment for all the teachers and the reader as he blasts Gilderoy's credibility to kingdom come.

In Book 3, courtesy of the Dementors, Harry hears Voldemort murdering his mother, hears his father's voice seconds before his death, and has to face the fact that it was all due to betrayal by one of his dad's best friends. Then he rescues his godfather, only to have the chance of clearing his name snatched away. In Book 4, after enduring _ well, the whole book, really _ he sees Cedric, whom he respected and liked, murdered, and then is tortured and nearly murdered himself.

I guess you see where I'm going with this. By the time he starts going out with Cho, he may have damn all experience at dating girls and be painfully shy with them, but in terms of suffering he's getting close to being a war veteran.

What about Cho ? Well, firstly _ we're not given as much information about her as about Harry. Secondly, we can only really judge her personality from (a) the two events (Cedric's death and Marietta's treachery) where her emotions and reactions are "on show" to us, and (b) from the assumption that, apart from those, her life is pretty normal for a witch. In Book 5, we're told about other people than Harry who lost parents or family to Voldemort, so it's safe to assume Cho's family didn't.

My opinion is that Cedric's death is either the worst thing to happen to Cho in her whole life so far, or if not, a pretty close contender. We can't blame her for reacting as if it's the worst thing to happen to the entire universe, ever. But _ in fact, it isn't. Sorry if that sounds callous, but it isn't. Yes, it's terrible, but to Harry (although he is overwhelmed by it too) it's one more damn thing you can expect with Voldemort around.

Harry is becoming toughened (but not coarsened) by suffering. When he starts going out with Cho, he can't help thinking about his original hopes of her "enjoying herself with him" instead of "sobbing uncontrollably on his shoulder". We might feel that this is a bit heartless _ actually, so does he. And bear in mind that he's just learning when it comes to dating _ and that he's shy in some ways.

When Marietta rats on her DA friends, we see both positive and negative aspects of Cho. On the positive side, there is her loyalty to her friend _ a friend who, as Harry points out, betrayed Cho as well as everyone else. On the other hand, we do see a certain superficiality _ "We got away with it, didn't we ?" she says, ignoring the fact that they only "got away" because Dumbledore sacrificed himself.

What Cho hasn't realised, it seems, is that there's a war on. That's what the DA was founded for. But Cho isn't the first person to join up to a war without realising it's on. (If I can depart from Harry Potter for a moment _ several million patriotic young fools joined up on all sides in a whirl of glamour in 1914, before realising what war means.) In war, a traitor is a traitor , not a "lovely person who made a mistake". Contrast Cho with Hermione _ Hermione may have her faults, but she has moments where she shows a steely side, aware of what's at stake. (Example: deliberately leading Umbridge to possible death in the Forest.)

So _ when you total Cho up, from Books 3, 4, and 5, what do you get ? You get a girl who is pretty and knows it and gets a lot of attention for it. But yes, a decent and intelligent personality. Her head isn't turned by the attention _ she likes skinny, shy Harry Potter just as much as she likes other, more obviously-endowed candidates who run after her. She speaks "fiercely" at certain points about particular issues of right and wrong as she sees it.

But she can also be inconsiderate and self-centred. It doesn't seem to occur to her that Harry suffered just as much if not more than Cedric, apart from the advantage of not ending up dead. She expects him to want to talk about it all with her _ just because that's what she wants. When she realises that Harry relies more on his two best friends for the most painful issues, she gets jealous. It doesn't seem to occur to her to put herself in his shoes. OK, she may not know everything he's been through since he arrived in the school, but she knows enough. It doesn't seem to occur to her that maybe Harry just wants to stop all the misery for a few hours and snatch some happiness. Nor does it occur to her (and thankfully, not to Harry either), that going out with Harry only after Cedric dies _ when she chose Cedric over him first, and wanting to him spend all the time talking about Cedric _ could be seen as using Harry.

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Kwikspell - Jun 3, 2005 2:00 pm (#15 of 92)

Marketers? Bah!
It isn't just your opinion, Vulture. Many psychologists believe that people who grieve do not necessarily experience all 5 stages of grieving or experience them in any particular order (though one has to hope that acceptance is always the last stage).

Harry has been through some extremely traumatic experiences his past two years. The whole time I was reading OotP, I kept thinking, "What this kid needs is some good therapy." (I wonder if therapy sessions would differ in the wizarding world. If so, how?) I think applepie's suggestion that Harry needs all the people around him to help him get through this next year is spot on. (Ten points for your house, applepie.)

Regarding Harry and Cho: Cho's behavior does adequately portray that of a teenaged girl whose boyfriend was unexpectedly killed. Additionally, I want to point out that Harry also spent most of his year being extremely self-centered. (yelling at Ron and Hermione for every little thing, outbursts in Umbridge's class) Harry does have more to deal with, but he still spent most of the book focusing on his own emotions instead of how he was affecting others. Understand, I'm not passing judgment on either character. Both Harry and Cho are teenagers who have experienced a loss--Harry more acutely because he witnessed it. At that age, it's hard to make your peers understand how deeply a loss affects you unless they've been through the same thing. I think Cho approached Harry thinking they could work through their grief by talking about it and Harry just wasn't ready.

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Ponine - Jun 3, 2005 6:39 pm (#16 of 92)

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
Vulture - As Kwikspell also indicated, psychology is not a science, the onset, duration and intensity of the various stages of grief are not set in stone, but they are a fairly efficient indicator of what grief tend to look like in most people.

I tend to think you are coming down quite hard on a young teenager. I mean, this is a fourteen year old girl, who not only loses her boyfriend in the most peculiar, traumatic manner; he was murdered for no good reason by the wizard equivalent of evil incarnate who has decided to walk the earth again. Those are pretty big things to grasp, much less to handle for a teen. I think that both Harry and Cho behave as most others would at that age in those circumstances, and that they both in about fifteen years time will smack themselves on the forehead and shake their heads when they think about all the wrong things they said, did not say, did and did not do.

In conclusion, I also think that it is worth considering that you can't really measure one individuals' horror and trauma up against anothers and say which is worse. There can be so many additional things going on that we know nothing about.

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lemonbalm&bees - Jun 3, 2005 6:56 pm (#17 of 92)

"This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything." ~D.A.
Exactly, Ponine. While the ever-perceptive Hermione was able to connect Cho's recent poor performance on the Quiddich pitch, the inner workings of another person's emotions are hardly ever readily aparrent. We can only judge by what we ourselves see, and all Harry saw was a soggy-eyed Cho.

(Harry must often wonder if Hermione is a Legilimens... I doubt it; I think she is just a girl Smile )

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Solitaire - Jun 4, 2005 2:23 pm (#18 of 92)

Harry and Cho--in additon to a lot of their own confusion--had different ideas and expectations from each other. I suspect Cho may have been really in love with Cedric. They were young, but it is not out of the realm of possibilities. She may have considered him "the one" for her.

Harry had a crush on Cho way back in GoF, and she seemed to like him, as well, even though she was "with" Cedric. When the new year began and she did not seem to hold Cedric's death against Harry, perhaps he misinterpreted this as her liking him in a more "romantic" way, the way he felt about her.

I think Cho was felt a bit lost. She knew Cedric was gone for good, so perhaps she was trying to move on. I think she may have taken her feelings for Cedric and "transferred" them to Harry. She may not even have realized what she was doing. Subconsciously, she may have felt she could work through her grief by talking about it with Harry. Harry, on the other hand, didn't really want to talk about it. He might have wanted to, back in the earlier part of the summer. Who knows? But a boy in his first crush probably is not going to want to hear or talk about his former "rival" for Cho's notice. How do you compete with someone who is dead and kind of "idealized" in his former girlfriend's mind? I think that is normal.

I do not believe either Harry or Cho was necessarily at fault in what happened. They were just in different places, and I suspect both of them were confused about what they were feeling about each other and what had happened.

Cho's continued support of Marietta after she betrayed them was understandable for her. I'm sure she saw it as forgiving a friend who had made a bad mistake--something we all hope our friends are capable of doing. But I can also understand how Harry considered Cho's support of Marietta as a betrayal of him and everyone else in the DA.

I think Harry has moved beyond his feelings for Cho by the end of the book. I doubt he holds a grudge. I think he realizes how unimportant those feelings will be when compared with what looms in his future ... and he has already begun to move on.

What is important now is for Harry to truly grieve over Sirius. I believe that Remus will be the one who can help him here. I personally feel there is another major "grieving episode" in Harry's future--as he comes to know his parents more fully through Remus and others and finally learns the whole truth about what happened that fateful night in Godric's Hollow.

Solitaire

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constant vigilance - Jun 4, 2005 6:18 pm (#19 of 92)

art student
I do not believe either Harry or Cho was necessarily at fault in what happened. They were just in different places, and I suspect both of them were confused about what they were feeling about each other and what had happened. solitaire..

Vulture, Kwikspell and Solitaire..excellent points! I agree with your arguments...and love that you looked through both character's eyes a bit.

I believe it is wrong to invalidate a person's emotions especially on the basis of comparing the weight of an incident. This results in a never ending battle of who has experienced the worst the world can give that can never be won because what one feels more upset by may differ from person to person. What is important is that he or she is hurting.

I think Harry and Cho's relationship suffered because they could not think about the other person's feelings in regards to Cedric because each needed to sort out his or her own first...i.e. with someone not as emotionally connected to Cedric or death.

I think Harry first needs to relieve himself of the immense guilt he feels for his parents' deaths. He discovers from Voldemort in Philosopher's Stone that his mother did not have to die but choose to do so to protect her son. Although I believe this is a lie of Voldemort's, Harry does feel responsible for her dying, and worse now he has heard Lily's last words. He needs to know that his parents, Cedric and Sirius did not die because he did something wrong but because Voldemort wanted them dead.

Harry also seems to feel guilty about surviving. He says to Cho (paraphrasing) that Cedric was an excellent wizard otherwise he wouldn't have made it through the tasks, but when Voldemort wants you dead--that's it. He, Harry, just got lucky.

Anyway, I agree that Harry needs the wisdom and compasion of all those around him to help him heal. And he could use a wee bit of an education when it comes to sympathizing with others. Although, he is considerate of Neville and Luna when it comes to loss of loved ones.

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Paulus Maximus - Jun 5, 2005 3:50 am (#20 of 92)

"I think Harry first needs to relieve himself of the immense guilt he feels for his parents' deaths."

Your pardon, but Harry has never shown much guilt for his parents' deaths, as far as I know. If anything, he feels more guilty for Sirius' death (which he KNOWS he contributed to) than for his parents' deaths (which happened when he was a baby, and who holds a baby accountable for the decisions his parents make?)

At least, that's what I get out of the end of OP.

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HungarianHorntail11 - Jun 5, 2005 4:55 pm (#21 of 92)

The heart sees deeper than the eye.
I think Harry is a bit clueless with regard to feelings. Remember whom he grew up with. What kind of role models and practice has he had during the last ten years of his life (prior to Hogwarts)? Most children who experience anything (happy events, sad events, tragic events, well-you get it)have a grown up jockeying them through it. The best Harry could hope for is to see the Dursleys sweep something under the rug, which would at least show some semblance of acknowledgment. Really, Harry doesn't even get that! The most heart wrenching scene for me by far was when Mrs. Weasley held him and it was the first he'd ever experienced a nurturing hug. It brought forth such an emotional tidal wave.

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Puck - Jun 5, 2005 6:32 pm (#22 of 92)

Mommy, Queen of Everything
Your right, Horntail, Harry has grown up in a bit of an emotion drought- at least for positive emotions.

I'm not sure about Harry feeling guilt about his parent's, but he may feel upset about how they sacrificed themselves. He may feel a heavier burden because of it. He needs to make their sacrifice- and that of Sirius- worthwhile. Carry that on 16 year old shoulders!

Harry had a crush because he found Cho pretty. After getting to know her, he feels differently. At this point, he probably could have a rational talk with her about Cedric, though I doubt that will happen.

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Paulus Maximus - Jun 6, 2005 5:54 am (#23 of 92)

Oh, yes... Harry felt quite horrible when Lupin scolded him for "gambling his parents' sacrifice for a bag of magic tricks." I had almost forgotten about that.

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constant vigilance - Jun 6, 2005 9:34 am (#24 of 92)

art student
I'm not sure about Harry feeling guilt about his parent's, but he may feel upset about how they sacrificed themselves. He may feel a heavier burden because of it. He needs to make their sacrifice- and that of Sirius- worthwhile. Carry that on 16 year old shoulders!

Puck, you said it better than I. I think "guilty" was the wrong word to use. However I do believe Harry has unresolved feelings about his parents' death given that he didn't have much time to talk with Sirius or Lupin about it, and the Dursley's have only insulted his parents or silenced the subject.

Harry did feel somewhat guilty about Cedric's death, not because he was responsible for what Voldemort did, but because he couldn't prevent it and he was standing right there, maybe? Harry definately felt some responsibility for not preventing Bode's death. Either Hermoine or Ron had to remind Harry that it wasn't there fault because who on earth would suspect Devil's Snare to show up in a hospital. Anyway, I appreciated that Molly told Harry, in GOF, that Cedric's death wasn't his fault.

Sirius death will definately affect Harry in a different, and probably more painful way than his parents death did. With his parents he grieves for the people he never had a chance to know, for the support he sees Ron and Hermoine receiving from their parents, and for the fact they bravely died to save him. Sirius, on the other hand, was a strong presents in Harry's life. He was both friend/brother and father figure to Harry. When Sirius came into the picture, Harry finally had someone to talk to for guidance, and someone who would also stand up for him. Sirius provided a protection from the Dursleys--in threats--, argued for Harry's right to know about what the Order was doing, and could be counted on to back Harry up when ever it came to Snape. And on top of what Harry has lost, he does feel responsible for Sirius showing up at the Ministry, which resulted in his murder.

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Vulture - Jun 7, 2005 12:59 pm (#25 of 92)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Edited Jun 7, 2005 2:00 pm
"Your pardon, but Harry has never shown much guilt for his parents' i deaths, as far as I know. If anything, he feels more guilty for Sirius' death (which he KNOWS he contributed to)" (Paulus Maximus)

I agree that, after the Ministry battle, Harry feels responsible for Sirius's death (and wishes he had listened to Hermione, who accurately spotted Voldemort's deception). However, Dumbledore is very firm about the fact that Sirius's death was not Harry's fault _ and he's right. I'm not saying that it's a fault in Dumbledore, either (though he does blame himself), but he and the other grown-ups who cared about Harry made a big mistake (a fatal one, for Sirius) in concealing too much from him (Harry). Harry had proven himself able to bear the information about the prophecy, and should have been told. The result of not telling him was, for example, Lupin trying to convince him that there was " nothing so important as your learning Occlumency" _ but without saying why, thus leaving Harry to feel that he (Lupin) and Sirius were "over-reacting". It should have been obvious to all those closest to Harry that, on past performance, Harry was not someone to blindly accept something he didn't understand. In other words, if he wasn't given reasons for something, he would work out his own. That's practically his trademark. And _ unfortunately, in this case _ his trademark had an almost 100% success rate before this terrible error.

Also, Sirius himself must take some blame _ and I don't mean the praise for his bravery given by Dumbledore at the end of Book 5. I mean two things: _ (1) he refused Snape's request to wait for Dumbledore at HQ, and I've a hunch that this was as much to do with the fact that the request came from Snape as from his concern (genuine though it was) for Harry. (2) His behaviour in the battle was foolhardy _ instead of laughing and shouting provocations at Bellatrix, he should have been doing what she was doing _ saying spells.

It's also important to remember, that regardless of the logical world, where who was "responsible" for Sirius's death may matter, the story of Sirius himself is operating on a dramatic level of its own: Kreacher and the shades of Grimmauld Place are trying, throughout the book, to drag Sirius down. In fact, though, in a sense, they succeed in bringing him to his death, they fail in the truest sense _ because Sirius is not conquered by evil, and his death, despite the recklessness, is one of his finest moments.

As regards Harry's ability to sympathize with others, I feel that a lot of you are basing your opinion (that he has little or none) mainly on Book 5. I think that it's important to remember that, in Book 5, he starts his schooldays with the shock of one of his best mates, Seamus Finnigan (not as close as Ron or Hermione, but close nevertheless), turning suddenly against him and believing him either mad or a liar or both. Almost immediately, he realises that people all over the school are of Seamus's opinion. I think that, now and again, he gets an irrational fear that everyone will desert him _ remember how quickly he calms down from an outburst when Hermione says "in case you hadn't noticed, Ron and I are (my italics_ ) on your side " ?

Another reason, I think, for his bursts of temper, is, quite simply, his torture by Voldemort in Book 4. I know that that isn't a reasonable reaction, but it's understandable. There may have been all sorts of sensible grown-up reasons for Harry to have spent summer at the Dursleys being kept completely in the dark about what was going on (and having nightmares about his torture with no-one to talk to about it), but _ as Dumbledore acknowledges at the end of Book 5 _ these sensible grown-up reasons missed the point that Harry is not actually a grown-up. Again, notice how quickly he calms down after an outburst brought on by memories of his torture: why ? _ because Hermione conquers her fear and says Voldemort's name for the very first time in her life.

There is a third possible reason for Harry's outbursts in Book 5 _ but on this one, I warn you, I may be completely wrong about what JKR was up to. Anyway _ I feel that Harry's constant bursts of rage throughout the book are meant to suggest _ on a symbolic level _ the growing power of Voldemort, both over Harry himself, over the school, and magical community generally. Hermione, early in the school year, cites the quarrels among students as examples of what Dumbledore had warned about _ Voldemort's ability to cause division.

One thing that makes me feel that Harry's rages have this symbolic meaning, and connection with Voldemort, is that after Voldemort tries and fails to possess him (at the Ministry), we don't see any more outbursts from Harry in Book 5. The book ends with (1) him reaching some resolution of his grief for Sirius, through taking seriously (and accepting the help of) a character whom he, like others, has not usually taken seriously before _ Luna Lovegood; and (2) the expression of united loyalty by his friends on the station platform _ despite his being so moved that he is unable to speak, we cannot doubt that Harry feels a lot better than he has done for months.

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applepie - Jun 7, 2005 2:03 pm (#26 of 92)

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much." -- Oscar Wilde
I think Sirius had already thrown in the towel. He had no quality of life and he knew he would be doomed to that house forever, so why not join his friends already passed in the afterlife. Not that he intentionally meant to hurt Harry, but I think his judgement was clearly impaired.

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Snuffles - Jun 7, 2005 2:17 pm (#27 of 92)

Olivia
I have to disagree. No way would Sirius throw in the towel. That just wouldn't be him. He thought way too much of Harry to ever give up.

He managed 12 years in Azkaban without giving up. If you can manage that you have to be pretty strong, I don't think he would choose to go through the veil and leave Harry on his own again, not after what they have both been through to be finally reunited.

Yes I agree his judgement was impaired, he underestimated his cousin's ability with a wand. He had been a prisoner one way or the other nearly half his life and desperately wanted to prove himself again, and it cost him dearly.

Just my humble opinion though.

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applepie - Jun 7, 2005 2:36 pm (#28 of 92)

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much." -- Oscar Wilde
Snuffles, I hope you didn't misunderstand that I thought he willingly went into the veil. I just think he thought there were worse things than dying...like being held hostage at Grimmauld Place, for instance.

I know he risked everything to protect Harry by breaking out of Azkaban, and I believe he is a very strong individual to endure those 12 years. But, things didn't end up the way he thought they would when he came back to the wizarding world. He knew he could never give Harry the life he wanted to, and being in that house for so long with no end in sight, I think his judgement was seriously (no pun intended) impaired, and as you said...cost him dearly!

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Snuffles - Jun 8, 2005 1:54 am (#29 of 92)

Olivia
Sirius definately thought there were things worse than dying and things worth dying for, as he explained to F&G in OOTP when Arthur got hurt.

Being locked in Grimmauld Place, IMHO, would have been worse than being locked up in Azkaban for Sirius. He broke out to help Harry and hoped his name would be cleared and Peter punished for what he did, instead he was locked up again and made to feel worthless (though it was for his own good!)

So really I guess we do sort of agree applepie

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Vulture - Jun 9, 2005 10:39 am (#30 of 92)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Applepie _ Sirius wasn't "doomed to that house forever": he was doomed to it as long as the Ministry had a warrant out for his arrest or elimination. The whole priority on this point was for the Order to prove to the (magical) world that Voldemort was back _ and as Hermoine said, examination of the Death Eaters' marks would show that Sirius wasn't one (though this doesn't seem to have stopped the Ministry the first time). Still, Sirius understood that Dumbledore was working to clear his name, and therefore had something to look forward to: even if he did get frustrated, impatient, and _ egged along by Kreacher _ depressed. Snape's constant gibes didn't help. Sirius himself put his finger on the whole problem _ the fact that he was being given nothing to do. He's not the first to realise that activity is a good antidote to depression.

As for his "quality of life" _ I think that Book 4 showed what he was like when he was on the run, yes, but free of that house. He comes across as being extremely courageous and, though he's not perfect, he derives great happiness from his affection for Harry. He was extremely tough-minded and good at staying positive.

However, I think you have a point in your June 7th messages _ I think that the feeling in them about Sirius is exactly what Kreacher and that damned house spend Book 5 trying to impose on Sirius's mind. When I say "damned house", by the way, I mean it literally _ a house of damnation. As I said before, they try and drag Sirius down. But as I also said, they do not , in the end, conquer him _ because what takes him to the Ministry is his love for Harry. I think he'll live on in the readers' memories as well as those of his friends in the books.

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applepie - Jun 9, 2005 11:25 am (#31 of 92)

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much." -- Oscar Wilde
Vulture: Sirius is a character that I enjoyed reading. I always have a soft spot for the underdog and I gues that is why I like he and Lupin so much. I agree that his love for Harry took him to the MoM that night, and I doubt any of us would heed the warning to stay behind if if was one of our loved ones. But, I think that no matter how much he believed Dumbledore to be working toward his freedom, time moves very slowly when you are the one confined to one space. So, no matter how swiftly Dumbledore was moving, forces beyond their control were slowing things up, and the walls of Grimmauld Place were closing in on Sirius. I agree that he was a very positive role model for Harry, but I think he could have benefitted from some of his own advice. I sincerely hope to see more of Sirius in the books to come. I think Harry needs more of him as well. I hope the mirror or the veil prove to be a form of communication that he can take advantage of at some point in the storyline.

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Vulture - Jun 14, 2005 12:11 pm (#32 of 92)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Hi, applepie: Well, I think we pretty much agree, if maybe not quite on details. I think Snuffles' earlier point about Sirius coping with 12 years in Azkaban is a good one, though.

Also, I don't think Sirius expected to die in the Ministry. In fact, my reading of it was that he lost his head a bit because he was enjoying the battle _ laughing at Bellatrix instead of concentrating. "His eyes widened in shock" when he got hit, not in expectation fulfilled.

We've seen before how Sirius has an impulsive side that can get the better of his judgement _ in Book 3, Lupin could hardly keep him from launching himself at Scabbers without bothering to explain. Ironically, everyone would have been better off if he had, at least for the time being.

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Kevin Corbett - Jul 12, 2005 3:16 pm (#33 of 92)

Edited by Jul 12, 2005 3:17 pm
I read the books for the first time about four months after my mother's death. Harry's scene with Dumbledore after Sirius's death was really heart wrenching for me, because it was so true. When my dad told me she was dead, I punched him. I smashed lamps, vases, anything I could grab. I didn't care. To have someone you love just up and die is something I wouldn't wish on anyone, but seeing that I wasn't alone in the way I felt, even if it was a fictional character, was comforting in a way, and part of the reason why I appretiate the books so much.

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Mrs Brisbee - Jul 12, 2005 3:36 pm (#34 of 92)

Kevin, I am sorry about the loss of your mother (in fact, your post made me want to cry). Thank you for confirming the realism of that scene. It is heart wrenching, and one of my favorites because Rowling chose not to segue past such an emotional scene, but tackle it head on.

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ex-FAHgeek - Oct 26, 2005 1:59 pm (#35 of 92)

---quote--- The whole priority on this point was for the Order to prove to the (magical) world that Voldemort was back _ and as Hermoine said, examination of the Death Eaters' marks would show that Sirius wasn't one (though this doesn't seem to have stopped the Ministry the first time). ---end quote---

Well, it wouldn't have, since the entire point was that Sirius was a secret agent hiding amongst the good guys - I don't think it's ever been mentioned whether Pettigrew had the tattoo or not either. At any rate, even Lupin and Dumbledore spent 12 years believing that Sirius was Voldemort's ultimate undercover agent.

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wynnleaf - Oct 26, 2005 5:29 pm (#36 of 92)

I had never read this thread until tonight and saw Kevin's post. I had never thought of this in relation to Harry's reaction in DD's office, but a couple of years ago, two of my daughter's were rushed to the hospital after a traumatic dog attack. As circumstances had it, my son was left in the house by himself for about half an hour afterward. He thought that one of his sisters was going to die (she didn't and is since fully recovered). I later learned that he went through the living room and threw over furniture, lamps, and other items in sheer frustration, fear, grief, and the sense of there being absolutely nothing he could do.

So Harry's reaction is really quite true to life for some people.

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Solitaire - Nov 3, 2005 12:30 pm (#37 of 92)

Ex-FAHgeek, following his rebirth, I thought Voldemort rolled up Pettigrew's sleeve and touched his Dark Mark to signal the other DEs to apparate to the graveyard. It's been a long time and I do not have a book handy at the moment, so perhaps I am remembering incorrectly ...

Solitaire

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frogface - Nov 4, 2005 3:05 pm (#38 of 92)

No you're right Solitaire. After he touches it it turns jet black. We see that this is a signal when Snape shows his scar to Fudge later in the hospital wing.

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Mercedes - Dec 9, 2005 2:59 pm (#39 of 92)

I think this thread (title) really works for the recent book as well. After DD died I thought everyone would fall apart. DD was the heart (and brains!) of almost everything. It was weird for me to read that all the characters seemed to be at peace, even fine. Even better off (Harry growing up). I don't think the loss of DD was realistically portrayed, which is why I am hoping it was a fake death.

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Puck - Dec 9, 2005 9:16 pm (#40 of 92)

Mommy, Queen of Everything
I think people were in shock at first. Remember, though, that they are in a war state, and many have been through it before. They know they can't just stand arounding waiting, they have to keep fighting. DD wouldn't want them to give up. There is a very somber feeling at the end of the book. They are saddened, but resolved. To me it seemed very realistic.

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Snuffles - Dec 12, 2005 9:30 am (#41 of 92)

Olivia
I think the 'death' of DD will be felt more significantly at the start of the next school year. To be sat in the great hall without DD's presence looking over at everybody will be extremely sad.

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Solitaire - Dec 12, 2005 5:02 pm (#42 of 92)

I agree with Puck and Snuffles. Having lost my father this summer--just 8 days before I lost Dumbledore--I know that I moved through about the first ten days or so in a rather numb haze. I believe that is nature's way of enabling us to survive all that necessary stuff that we have to do in those first days. Only after the "business" of the funeral and other attendant duties were over did I feel able to let down my defenses and really begin grieving.

Even now, I am starting to put up my defenses against the flood of memories that are bound to come with the holidays. Grief does not have an expiration date. I figure that there will always be seasons, memories, and events which trigger sensations of grief for someone I miss very much.

I agree with Puck, that the first return to a Hogwarts without Dumbledore will be a very somber and sad time. For those who have known him longest and loved him best, many places, events, and objects will be forever connected with him. One thing Hogwarts has is that communicating portrait ... which, I believe, will help to ease the pain of loss for some.

Solitaire

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Mercedes - Dec 13, 2005 7:29 pm (#43 of 92)

Yeah, you guys are right. I think the portrait might be good and bad. Some people (harry) might latch on with obsession as he did with the mirror (to see his family). Other people might avoid it because it brings up so much. Some people when they lose someone try to erase all signs of them because it is just too much,at least for a while.

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Honour - Dec 14, 2005 3:42 am (#44 of 92)

I like to think that one of the reasons for JKR writing the chapter about the Mirror of Erised was to give Harry and us the readers, the opportunity to see Harry's parents. In seeing them, Lily and James became real people and not just faceless characters in a book. The stolen moments that Harry had, served as a means of allowing Harry to grieve about the loss of his parents, and the loss of the life he would have had with them if they had not been killed. Yes, Harry did linger over their images until DD came to explain the mirror's purpose, but nevertheless,however poignant and heart wrenchingly sad seeing his parents were, the mirror also gave Harry the chance to say goodbye ...

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Laura W - Mar 21, 2006 9:02 am (#45 of 92)

Kevin Corbett wrote:

I read the books for the first time about four months after my mother's death. Harry's scene with Dumbledore after Sirius's death was really heart wrenching for me, because it was so true. When my dad told me she was dead, I punched him. I smashed lamps, vases, anything I could grab. I didn't care. To have someone you love just up and die is something I wouldn't wish on anyone, but seeing that I wasn't alone in the way I felt, even if it was a fictional character, was comforting in a way, and part of the reason why I appreciate the books so much.

I hope nobody minds if I make a further comment on Kevin's excellent post (And I also hope I am keeping on-topic.)

I, as an adult woman who has never been interested in fantasy - although a lifelong avid reader -, had never had any desire to read these Harry Potter children's books everyone was talking about. Then, last year, I lost a brother.

When Halloween came around and there were ghosts and gravestones, etc. decorating every store and the pages of magazines, it made things worse. The last thing I needed to see was more death and its representations! For some reason, I decided to read just the first Harry Potter book as a harmless diversion. To my utter amazement, I became hooked in a *very* deep and personal way.

You see, for me the Philosopher's Stone was more than just an escape from my grief and despair. It showed me the possibility of overcoming great tragedy, of having strength in the face of that which will surely defeat you from within if you let it.

Anyway, I then went on to read the next five books in succession. As strange as it may sound, considering what tragedies these books are - for Harry and other characters -, I continue to get comfort and strength from them.

Laura

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Laura W - Mar 21, 2006 10:39 am (#46 of 92)

Now back to Harry. ...

Honour wrote:

like to think that one of the reasons for JKR writing the chapter about the Mirror of Erised was to give Harry and us the readers, the opportunity to see Harry's parents. In seeing them, Lily and James became real people and not just faceless characters in a book. The stolen moments that Harry had, served as a means of allowing Harry to grieve about the loss of his parents, and the loss of the life he would have had with them if they had not been killed. Yes, Harry did linger over their images until DD came to explain the mirror's purpose, but nevertheless,however poignant and heart wrenchingly sad seeing his parents were, the mirror also gave Harry the chance to say goodbye ...


That is certainly one way of looking at it, Honour, but it was not how I interpreted this event in PS. I saw it as a way of giving Harry - however briefly - the family that had been taken away from him. Heaven knows, the Dursley's had never been a family, in any sense of the word, to him. (Some people say the way the Dursley's treated Harry was merely neglect but, from book one, I have always seen it as gross child abuse. But I digress.)

So, here he was standing in front of a mirror seeing his mother and father and various other relatives who looked like him, smiling and waving at him. He may have been in front of the mirror and they behind it but to his lonely 11-year-old mind they were all together. At last! This is not saying goodbye to them but finally saying hello and being with them. His "heart's desire."

For me, the moment when Harry actually said goodbye to his deceased mother and father came in PoA. Remember how he asked Lupin to teach him how to perform an anti-Dementor spell (Expecto Patronus, as we all know) so he would stop hearing his mother's screams and could play Quidditch without falling off his broom? Well, in my view, this is the significant quote related to our current thread:

"Terrible though it was to hear his parents' last moments replayed inside his head, these were the only times Harry had heard their voices since he was a very small child. But he'd never be able to produce a proper Patronus if he half-wanted to hear his parents again. 'They're dead,' he told himself sternly. 'They're dead, and listening to echoes of them won't bring them back'."

That passage always chokes me up a bit; especially knowing that they were wrenched from a 13-year-old. Like so much else in the HP series, causing me to think, "So unfair! So unfair!"

Anyway, that's how I saw it.

Laura

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Die Zimtzicke - Mar 28, 2006 11:17 am (#47 of 92)

If there is as little expressed grief over Dumbeldore's death at the beginning of the last book (and I do believe he is dead!) that there was about Sirius at the beginning of book six, I will be upset. I thought the lack of grief for Sirius was extremely unhealthy.

Yes, he would have been under a cloud of suspicion forever, and he is probably now with Lily and James, having that next great adventure, but I thought the lack of mourning there was appalling, personally.

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haymoni - Mar 28, 2006 11:25 am (#48 of 92)

I don't know that Harry got the chance to be that close to Sirius.

He really didn't spend that much time with him. When he did, there was always somebody else there.

It's not like they went fishing or anything!

He found Sirius and promptly lost him.

Harry's conversation with Sir Nicholas, while unsatifying in getting him what he wanted, was probably pretty comforting in knowing that Sirius would not have wanted to be a ghost.

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wynnleaf - Mar 28, 2006 2:03 pm (#49 of 92)

I was quite struck by the lack of grieving over Sirius at the beginning of Book 6. But I didn't so much think of it as unrealistic, as unhealthy. That is, after all Harry has gone through, I could believe that he would not spend a lot of time in grief.

It's true that Harry didn't really spend a lot of time with Sirius. On the other hand, Harry really didn't have any other adult "parental" sort of figure. I thought JKR did get across the idea that Harry was strongly depending on Sirius to meet that parental need, even though Sirius didn't necessarily seem cut out for it. Then we had the MOM battle where in many ways Harry was somewhat responsible for getting Sirius there in the first place, into a situation which killed him. I thought it was realistic that Harry tried to place most of the guilt for Sirius' death on someone else (Severus), but I was surprised that JKR did not directly comment on any awareness Harry may have felt of his own "guilt." That is, I thought he was feeling guilt, but it only showed up in his determination to attempt to lay blame on others -- yet oddly, not so much on Bellatrix and LV.

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Magic Words - Mar 28, 2006 2:55 pm (#50 of 92)

How long was it between the end of book 5 and the beginning of book 6? I also noticed Harry's lack of grief over Sirius, but I wonder whether we're supposed to assume that a majority of it happened "offstage." I think it is mentioned that Harry basically lay around his room and moped for his entire stay at the Dursleys. One reason I'm considering this "offstage" approach is that it seems to happen more in HBP than the previous books. There was absolutely no buildup for the Harry/Ginny relationship, but there is one sentence in there pointing out that they had spent the summer together, after all. There was plenty of time for a relationship to develop and in retrospect, no reason to believe that it didn't. JKR just chose not to dramatize it.


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Grieving realistically portrayed? (Post 51 to 92)

Post  Elanor on Sat May 28, 2011 11:57 am

wynnleaf - Mar 28, 2006 8:58 pm (#51 of 92)
Off the top of my head (not checking the book), I think it's about 3 weeks between Sirius' death and when DD comes to get Harry in Book 6. The children remained at Hogwarts for about a week following the battle at the MOM, and then I think Harry's "shortest stay" at Privet Drive was 2 weeks.

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frogface - Mar 29, 2006 2:31 am (#52 of 92)

I have never lost someone as close to me as Harry was to Sirius so I don't know how much grieving I would do if I were in Harry's situation. However I do know that when something terrible happens in my life, I have a rather bad habit of bottling it up and ignoring it until it lets itself out through some other outlet of anger or sadness. Harry is only a few years younger than me at the beginining of HBP, so maybe he is the same sort of person when it comes to facing grief a few weeks after things have taken time to sink in.

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Puck - Mar 29, 2006 7:35 pm (#53 of 92)

Mommy, Queen of Everything
We all grieve in a personal way. Harry let out a lot of grief at the end of otoP. After that, he had to pick up the pieces and choose to move on. He doesn't exactly have the luxury of time, he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. How long you grieve has nothing to do with how much you love. (paraphrasing Dr. Phil)

Plus, we do see his pain over Sirius. Look at how he reacted when he saw Mundungus with stuff from #12. JKR does a wonderful job of giving us information in subtle -and I believe realistic- ways.

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Laura W - Apr 2, 2006 4:44 am (#54 of 92)

It's not like they went fishing or anything!

Hee, hee, Haymoni. I really got a kick out of that one. With Sirius' personality and Harry's personality, I doubt if that is what they would have done together had Sirius lived.

Ok. When when I first read HBP, I too was VERY disturbed at what I perceived to be how easily Harry got over Sirius' death. Fishing or not, Harry was obviously very emotionally attached to his godfather.

From PoA we see this, with Harry being delighted at the possibility of living with Sirius and then using Sirius ("He's a convicted murderer... He likes to keep in touch with me, though...") to blackmail the Dursley's into treating him better over the summer. And then in GoF, when Harry's scar burned over the summer, who did he write and tell about it? Sirius! These are just two examples of the role Harry saw Sirius playing in his life.

This being the case - and with Harry himself kind of being responsible for Sirius' death -, I was thinking that his grief would be a continuing theme throughout book six. That seemed just right and real to me. Instead, Harry seemed to be over it in just three weeks: the one at the end of his fourth year, and the first two weeks of the summer at the Dursley's. I didn't buy it.

Much to my *great* surprise, I think I have changed my mind on this. Rereading a particular section of HBP, I think Jo covered Harry's grief over Sirius adequately as she could without making HBP 1000 pages long. The section I am referring to is in the chapter Horace Slughorn. In the Cdn version (Raincoast) it runs from the bottom of page 76 to the top of page 78. For those of you with other versions, it starts, "I hope you will forgive me for mentioning it, Harry..." and ends, "...and Voldemort too if I can manage it."

Laura

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Laura W - Apr 2, 2006 6:29 am (#55 of 92)

In #54, I wrote (second last paragraph):

Instead, Harry seemed to be over it in just three weeks: the one at the end of his fourth year, and the first two weeks of the summer at the Dursley's. I didn't buy it.

Arrrgh! I meant to say "the one at the end of his *fifth* year, and the first two weeks of the summer at the Dursley's." Sorry about the timeline confusion there. (I should definitely lose five points for that!)

Laura

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Solitaire - Apr 9, 2006 2:46 pm (#56 of 92)

Just because Harry was not pining away in his room, walking around like a zombie, or starving himself does not mean he wasn't grieving. First of all, Harry was stuck with the Dursleys. He may not have wanted them to know about Sirius's death, because fear of Sirius popping in at any moment probably helped keep them in line a bit.

Second, he was probably mulling over what he'd learned from Dumbledore--that he was a marked man. He was probably still trying to wrap his brain around the prophecy.

Third, he simply did not have the luxury of indulging in his grief openly. Harry is in a war--a very real war--and he must have his wits about him at all times. I would imagine that Harry even sleeps "on the alert" these days. I also suspect that Sirius is never too far out of Harry's thoughts. I'm sure he replays the incident over and over in his mind when he is idle, wondering what he could have done to prevent his death. JM2K ...

Solitaire

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Finn BV - Apr 9, 2006 2:51 pm (#57 of 92)

Me kayaking, Niagara River, August 2006. I have been likened to Reepicheep in this photo.
I agree Solitaire.

He may not have wanted them to know about Sirius's death, because fear of Sirius popping in at any moment probably helped keep them in line a bit.

I just remembered – at the beginning of OoP right before Harry and Dudley get attacked by Dementors, Dudley asks Harry "who Cedric is." Harry wonders how Dudley found out but the latter tells him that he was mentioning him in his sleep.

Since Harry and Dudley don't really interact much in HBP, it's not a surprise that Harry doesn't get faced with this "torture" from his cousin.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Apr 9, 2006 4:01 pm (#58 of 92)

Solitaire, that is an excellent point about Sirius still providing some protection for Harry despite being dead.

Finn, in regards, to Dudley, I think he may be less inclined to torment Harry in the aftermath of the attack by the Dementors because, Dudley's reaction to the Dementors was so intense that Harry could use it as weapon against any possible torment Dudley may threaten to inflict.

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Solitaire - Apr 9, 2006 4:52 pm (#59 of 92)

This probably isn't the place to discuss it, but I wonder about Dudley and the Dementors. I think he still suspects Harry of having perpetrated whatever happened to him. If anyone thinks this is worth discussing, it should probably be moved to Dud's thread.

Solitaire

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Puck - Apr 25, 2006 6:03 pm (#60 of 92)

Mommy, Queen of Everything
After re-reading HBP, I think we do see signs of Harry grieving -mostly in his not wanting to discuss anything to do with Sirius. He doesn't want to show what he considers "weakness". Darn macho falicy that men shouldn't cry! Anyway, just look at how he goes after Mundungus when he takes stuff from 12GP. That is grief coming out.

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Solitaire - Apr 26, 2006 2:36 pm (#61 of 92)

Sometimes people simply don't want to talk about a person or an incident until they have come to terms with whatever it is in their own minds. It does not necessarily mean they are macho or unable to grieve or anything else. Harry's anger with Mundungus seems more like righteous indignation that someone who knew Sirius would feel sanctioned to brazenly steal his things.

Solitaire

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Torill - May 25, 2006 10:32 am (#62 of 92)

"The good thing is that God gave us admiration so we don't spoil our liver, and I changed envy to admiration" - Alfonso Cuarón
Up until book 6 I would say grief is, as a rule, very realistically portrayed in the books, in all the instances where we meet it. But as many of you have said in this thread already, grief is not always so well described in HBP. This is one of the reasons why I was slightly disappointed with this book.

I have no problems with the fact that everyone seems more subdued and controlled in their reactions to Dumbledore's death than Harry did to Sirius' death in book five, though. On the contrary, this seems very plausible to me. Dumbledore's death is a terrible loss for the Order, for the school and indeed for the whole wizarding world now that the Second War has begun. It is the loss of a great leader.

But let's face it: no one we know of in the books does actually have a deep personal relationship with Dumbledore. He is always somewhat aloft in all his calmness and wisdom, a bit above them all - they look up to him and admire him immensely - but it is still not as deeply personal as the relationship Harry has to Sirius for instance, or Molly has to her children...

The reaction to Sirius' deaht in book five is another matter.

It is the contrast between the terrible grief Harry feels in book 5, and his all too quick recovery only three weeks later in book 6, that makes it so difficult to accept I think. In book 5, Sirius' death is an earth-shaking event, and as is evident from the pre-HBP posts in this thread, everyone assumed that how Harry was to come to terms with this would have to be a major theme in book 6 as well. But then, in HBP, Sirius' death is hardly even mentioned, and Harry seems almost unaffected..

Yes, Laura W, I read that part too, the talk Slughorn and Dumbledore and Harry had at the beginning of the book. (It is the same pages in my Bloomsbury as in your Canadian edition, pages 76/77) At the beginning of the book, it did all seem fine, as expected. Harry did exactly what you say, Solitaire: pine in his room: "Harry had spent nearly all his time at the Dursleys' lying on his bed, refusing meals and staring at the misted window, full of the chilled emptiness that he had come to asscociate with Dementors"(Bloomsbury ed. P.77)

This is realistic, yes, I can totally see this happening. And I can also believe that he would want to get out of this state, and say to Dumbledore a bit further down the same page that Sirius would not have wanted him to shut himself away or crack up like this, so from now on he will rather concentrate on revenge.. "life is too short" he says, and points to all the others who have died.

Very wise, very brave, yes, the problem is only, I just don't buy that he is able to go through with this plan as easily and as soon as he is shown to do in the book. The contrast between the condition we find him in at the beginning of the book and his perfectly adjusted condition when he arrives at school is again too great, too much to believe. Yes of course, it is smart for a tough, seasoned warrior to not worry too much about his losses but concentrate on his future battles - the trouble is only that Harry is still a kid of 16 here, no matter all the traumas he has been through, and not a tough old veteran. Moreover his loss is not of some "comrade in arms", it is the loss of the only parent figure he has ever been able to attach himself to at a deeper level. I would have expected him to have had several relapses into a more "Dementor-like" apathic state all through the year, even if he wouldn't have cracked up completely, or gone totally into clinical depression. His coping comes too cheap here...Again, this easiness is compared to his initial strong reactions, these two states just don't go together..

What he does in the book, is not all the time concentrate on the war either, ponder over the prophecy or prepare for battle, like you suggest Solitaire. (That is another problem I have with the book by the way - life seems to be a bit too much "business as usual" at Hogwarts, while full war is supposed to be on.) Harry is as preoccupied with his new position as Quidditch captain and who to put on the team, as he is with Voldemort and the prophecy for instance. One single episode where he seems to react a bit too strong to Mundungus'stealing of what Sirius never wanted anyway, is not enough to convince this reader that he is actually only penning up all that grief. Even if Jo may have meant it that way. It is just not enough to be realistic.

So what I am saying is, I am ready to believe that Harry would want to push his grief away, and stop everyone from talking about Sirius as much as stop himself from thinking about him, that is perfectly in character for him - but I can't buy that he is so successful about it. This sort of denial should come with a higher price to be realistic I think. Harry seems just too well balanced and content in all his doings for me to believe in it.

When this reaction of Harry's is combined with the fact that no one else seems to really care that Sirius died either, or even think of him anymore; book 6 feels like somewhat of an anticlimax to book 5 in this respect for me. There is no memorial service, no official clearing of his name - this is only mentioned in passing to the Muggle Minister, but not discussed anywhere else in the Wizarding world that we hear of. As we come into the story only three weeks after Sirius' death I find this fact very odd.

Yes, of course one can assume that it happnes even if we do not hear about it, that it is announced in the Daily Prophet or a Ministry Declaration or whatnot - but the point is, Jo chooses not to mention it in her book, but leave it to our imagination, and this has a literary effect. It begins to look like as if the death of Harry's godfather was not such a significant event after all. From what is written in the book, it seems as if absolutely everyone who knew Sirius has chosen to just shrug their shoulders and move on as if nothing happened. Not even Lupin shows any reaction, and he ought to have felt the loss keenly, if that hug in PoA means anything at all. Neiter does he ever approach Harry about it, not even with a simple: how are you holding up? This portrays Lupin as neglective of Harry's needs in my not so humble opinion - but to discuss how this reflects on Lupin's character should probably happen in another thread.

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TheSaint - May 27, 2006 3:27 pm (#63 of 92)

This thread is somewhat strange. Since everyone grieves differently, who is to say what is realistic? Just wondered.

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Choices - May 27, 2006 4:53 pm (#64 of 92)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
I'm with you 100% on this one, Saint.

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geauxtigers - May 27, 2006 5:48 pm (#65 of 92)

Yum!
yeah I really have avoided this thread and never read any of it for a while because its just an odd topic to diguss maybe thats why not one has posted on it in a while.

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haymoni - May 27, 2006 5:49 pm (#66 of 92)

I think it is hard to write about Harry and ANY kind of emotion, let alone grief.

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Torill - May 28, 2006 1:30 am (#67 of 92)

"The good thing is that God gave us admiration so we don't spoil our liver, and I changed envy to admiration" - Alfonso Cuarón
I agree with what you are saying to a certain degree, Saint - but since I am the one who did post in this thread recently, I should probably say to what degree I do not agree with you.

People do grieve differently, there is no fixed pattern to it. Absolutely. But in a literary work, some ways of picturing grief - or any other emotion - rings true, feels real when you read them, and you believe in them. Other ways of doing it do not feel real, they may feel sentimental, contrived, exaggerated etc. In the first five books, I totally believed in the different ways grief were shown by the characters. I could feel shadows of the same emotions myself while I was reading. But in book six I was not so pleased with how this theme was handled.

What does not feel realistic here is the sudden recovery in Harry, how easily he gets over it. When this is combined with the almost total absence of mentioning of the character in the book as well, the combined effect is less realistic - to me at least. As a clinical psychologist I have witnessed very many different patterns of grief processes, but this one just does not ring true to me.

I am not going to repeat all he arguments in my former post here, lol - just point out that I absoulutely agree there are very many different forms of grief. This doesn't mean that the way this theme is handled in the books may not be discussed in a meaningful way, though.

But of course, the theme of this thread may not interest everyone. Fair enough!

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TheSaint - May 28, 2006 5:58 am (#68 of 92)

"What does not feel realistic here is the sudden recovery in Harry, how easily he gets over it. When this is combined with the almost total absence of mentioning of the character in the book as well, the combined effect is less realistic - to me at least. "

Where you find unbelievability, I find myself. Some people flail about and make a real show of thier grief, others internalize and find the mere mention of the missing person an angony. Sympathy cards are seen as a brutal reminder. Those who raise themselves and their younger siblings tend to find showing emotion a weakness. They tend to stay strong and in control. Harry is the same, and I almost always relate to his motivations.

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Torill - May 28, 2006 6:45 am (#69 of 92)

"The good thing is that God gave us admiration so we don't spoil our liver, and I changed envy to admiration" - Alfonso Cuarón
Saint, I do not doubt for one moment that both you and Harry might show grief in the way he does in book six, without this meaning that your grief is any less than that of the ones who scream and wail. To some, showing emotions definitely feels like weakness, and they choose the stoic approach. It is not even true, as some pop pshycology will have it, that this should in any way be unhealthy, and that you have to "let go" and scream and wail in order to "get over it". It may be a perfectly good way of coping, if it is right for your kind of personality.

What I tried to point out as unrealistic to me, is the fact that Harry so suddenly and completely - and as it seems, successfully - changes from the one to the other from book five to book six. After all, we are dealing with a time span of only three weeks here. You could say that Harry really "flail about and make a great show" of his grief in book five, whereas in book six he is suddenly able to successfully do the internalizing thing. What you describe as happening in two different personalities is here happening in the same person, and within such a short time. That's what I find unrealistic. I would not have found either of the two patterns you describe unrealistic if they had occured in two different people, neither would I have done so if there had been a longer timespan between the two positions occuring in one person.

I will in no way call your emotional reaction pattern "unrealistic" or inferior in any way, and I am truly sorry if my post came across as hurtful or offending to you.

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TheSaint - May 28, 2006 11:24 am (#70 of 92)

Oh, no Hun, I was not offended or hurt at all. Just simply stating a different perspective. I can see this happening in the same person in the amount of time stated. Immediate reaction of tossing the office, sensitivity to control seems a natural grief progression...isn't is denial, anger, etc. Can't remember them all but I can see someone with this history achieveing those in a very rapid space of time. He had begun to surrender part of his control to a parent figure, who was ripped from his life. Anger and then rapid acceptance of his need to regain control would be normal. As was stated earlier, he has always had to rely on himself, hope seeped in, but was stolen, so he reverted to his natural instincts.

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Torill - May 28, 2006 12:21 pm (#71 of 92)

"The good thing is that God gave us admiration so we don't spoil our liver, and I changed envy to admiration" - Alfonso Cuarón

>>"I was not offended or hurt at all"

- Oh good, then I was perhaps not as clumsy in my wording as I feared!

>>>"As was stated earlier, he has always had to rely on himself, hope seeped in, but was stolen, so he reverted to his natural instincts."

- Yes - perhaps, if the Harry by the end of book five had been the Harry we met at the end of book four. But all through his fifth year, Harry is shown to lose that old ability of self control to a large degree. It doesn't work for him quite that well anymore, the strain has finally become too great. He yells at his best friends, is moody and rebellious to a much larger degree than before, etc. And his relationship to Sirius was depicted to be more than just a ray of hope - he had attached to his Godfather on a much deeper level. How else could his longing to see Sirius again be so strong that it could actually drive Voldemort out of his body? To come to terms with something like this will have to take more than three weeks...

It doesn't matter if he couldn't have gone through those classical "stages" of Kübler-Ross': shock, denial, anger, negotiation, accept - in just three weeks. This particular form of "grief work" is not seen as necessary any more, not all people who grieve do this, even if some do - and this sequel of stages is not better, does not lead to a healthier outcome than any other way of doing it.

Neither does my problem with it have to do with the fact that he is shown getting up from that apathic bed and starting to "pull himself together" again after three weeks, trying to find back to his old ways of coping. I totally believe in that. The problem is that he is shown to be so utterly successful in this coping strategy so soon. I would have expected a bit more strain in him - not all the time, and not in the form of major bouts of moping or irritability or shouting nd wailing - but perhaps periods where he would be more silent and withdrawn, more sad, less interested in Quidditch and the whereabouts of Draco - only to snap out of it again, and then be back on track for a while..till the next sad period, whether that be a day or a fortnight. And perhaps also, more incidents where something suddenly reminded him of what he didn't want to think about. In short, depict Harry reverting to his old pattern of handling strong emotion, absolutely, but not indicate that the emotion was not so strong after all, that it could seem like it was practically gone after three weeks as it were...

I guess my reaction to this also links to the plot part of the whole thing - since book five, I have thought that the experience of love and attachment, and the process of getting to terms with losing that again, thus feeling its importance acutely, compared to the old pattern of self-reliance - should actually be part of the reason why it was necessary for Sirius to die. If indeed the power behind the closed door at the DoM will be the key factor to how Harry may achieve Voldie's downfall, that is, as so many of us want to believe ...

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Laura W - May 29, 2006 1:08 am (#72 of 92)

Torill, I can't believe I am arguing for the other side because, if you read my post #54 on this thread, you will see that the first time I read HBP, I took your position exactly. But how about this? ...

You wrote: " The problem is that he is shown to be so utterly successful in this coping strategy so soon. I would have expected a bit more strain in him - not all the time, and not in the form of major bouts of moping or irritability or shouting nd wailing - but perhaps periods where he would be more silent and withdrawn, more sad, less interested in Quidditch and the whereabouts of Draco - only to snap out of it again, and then be back on track for a while..till the next sad period, whether that be a day or a fortnight. And perhaps also, more incidents where something suddenly reminded him of what he didn't want to think about."

Ok, then. HPB, Chapter Eight:

On Sept.1 when he went back to Hogwarts for his sixth year - two months and one week after Sirius' death -, Draco broke his nose et al on the train and Tonks rescued him and walked with him to the school. Harry noticed a definite difference in her: older, quieter and more serious. " Was this all the effect of what had happened at the Ministry? He reflected uncomfortably that Hermoine would have suggested he say something consoling about Sirius to her ... but he couldn't bring himself to do it. He was far from blaming her for Sirius's death; ... but he did not like talking about Sirius if he could avoid it." A particularly Harry way of grieving, perhaps?

Then they were met by Snape. "He had loathed Snape from their first encounter, but Snape had placed himself for ever and irrevocably beyond the possibility of Harry's forgiveness by his attitude towards Sirius." Again, a Harry way of grieving?

Laura

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Torill - May 29, 2006 2:56 am (#73 of 92)

"The good thing is that God gave us admiration so we don't spoil our liver, and I changed envy to admiration" - Alfonso Cuarón
I agree Laura, I believe in those incidents as a "Harry" way of handling grief. What I am saying is that these few incidents are not enough - there are very few of these them in the book. I think you may have found all of them there, maybe there is one more or so..

But my main argument is that when nothing is happening that directly reminds him of Sirius, he is not showing any form of strain or emptiness, listlessness, lack of initiative, a hint of sadness, too hyperactive conduct etc. etc. - any of the signs of a heavy burden you would expect in someone trying to stoicly carry a horrible grief without showing it, even to himself. He is just too perfectly well adjusted and balanced all the time. Compared to his reactions in all of book five, this is what I don't believe.

But yes, it is mentioned in passing here and there that he doesn't like to talk about Sirius. That is all though. And when no one else talks about or grieves over Sirius either - well - I am not going to bore everyone by repeating myself yet again here, lol.

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TheSaint - May 29, 2006 4:08 am (#74 of 92)

He yells at his best friends, is moody and rebellious to a much larger degree than before, etc.

This I call - hormonal teenager.

The aspect you are leaving out here is guilt. If he has to think about it, he assigns himself blame. I think this is just too much for him to handle and is best not thought of at all. With all that is going on in his life, that one just pushes him too far over the edge, and he cannot afford that right now. Like Scarlett, I think it is for another day. maybe the thirty years worth of therapy he will need when this is all over.

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Laura W - May 30, 2006 12:52 am (#75 of 92)


"I agree Laura, I believe in those incidents as a "Harry" way of handling grief. What I am saying is that these few incidents are not enough - there are very few of these them in the book. I think you may have found all of them there, maybe there is one more or so.. But my main argument is that when nothing is happening that directly reminds him of Sirius,..."

One more. In Hogsmeade when he catches Mudungus Fletcher with Sirius' stuff. "Harry had pinned Mudungus against the wall of the pub by the throat. Holding him fast with one hand, he pulled out his wand. ... 'You took that from Sirius' house,' said Harry ... 'That had the Black family crest on it.' ... 'What did you do, go back the night he died and strip the place?' snarled Harry." HPB, Chapter 12, p.231 (Cdn. edition).

I don't think it was the stuff Dung took that made Harry react that way. Again, I think it was a grief outburst. But, as you said, Torill, this incident is one directly related to Sirius.

And, Saint, although, as you may have noticed over the months I have been on the Forum, we frequently see things very differently, I *totally* agree with the point you brought out in your last paragraph. That's also the reason Harry is so determined to blame Snape for Sirius' death - despite all evidence to the contrary.

Laura

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Laura W - May 30, 2006 1:07 am (#76 of 92)

Oooo! Oooo! (jumping up and down, waving frantically) I just thought of something else.

How about if Harry's grief, instead of taking the form of depression and despair and listlessness - as it did the first two weeks he was back with the Dursley's - has instead made him more determined than ever to do whatever he can to thwart Voldemort and his Death Eaters (including Snape and Draco, in Harry's mind), *because* one of them killed his godfather.

This obsession with finding out where Draco is going all the time and his repeated questioning of DD re whether Severus can be trusted - to the degree where the headmaster actually gets annoyed at one point - does not exactly make our boy wizard sound "perfectly well adjusted and balanced all the time", Torill.

Can you buy this argument at all?

Laura

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TheSaint - May 30, 2006 3:51 am (#77 of 92)

Sold! Makes sense to refocus that energy somewhere else, and becoming a bit obsessive about it would be natural (well for me anyway...lol).

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Torill - May 30, 2006 5:25 am (#78 of 92)

"The good thing is that God gave us admiration so we don't spoil our liver, and I changed envy to admiration" - Alfonso Cuarón
About the hormonal teenager argument to explain Harry's book five reactions: Teenagers react to their hormonal storms according to their personality, too. Since the argument here is that Harry handles his grief over Sirius in such a controlled way that it seems as if he is not grieving at all, because this is his way of coping with difficult emotions - well, then that would have been his way of coping with hormonal storms as well...

I think his reactions in five has more to do with the trauma he was exposed to in the graveyard when Voldemort returned: actual torture by someone who means to kill him, the death of a schoolmate, the abominable ritual of Voldie's resurrection - and all of this followed by a total absence of information and support while he was expecting said torturist to come after him and kill him. If he hadn't shown some form of reaction here, I would totally have lost faith in the emotional realism of the series..

And directing the energy of the grief elsewhere, following Draco and wanting revenge - well, maybe. Except that I cannot see how he acts very differently here than what he has done in every book earlier when it comes to investigating what is going on, and as for wanting revenge - in book three there was a lot told about how he wanted to find Sirius to avenge his father, actually... how is it different here?

I guess what it all boils down to for me, is how this theme of dealing with Sirius' death is so blatantly absent from the book - it is touched upon so very little. I, among many others, had expected it to be a major theme in this book - also because I expected how coming to terms with his own contribution to what happened, and his unjust blame of Snape, would be portrayed as a very necessary step in Harry's development towards being fit to meet Voldemort in the end. But - maybe this will become a theme again in book seven. Maybe I will be more happy about this book then, in hindsight. We'll see!

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TheSaint - May 30, 2006 6:27 pm (#79 of 92)

"because this is his way of coping with difficult emotions - well, then that would have been his way of coping with hormonal storms as well..."

I cannot agree here. Two totally different types of drives.

"I guess what it all boils down to for me, is how this theme of dealing with Sirius' death is so blatantly absent from the book - it is touched upon so very little. I, among many others, had expected it to be a major theme in this book"

Harry has been surrounded all his life by death, surely he would desensitized to it,to some degree, as ER staff does to wounds and sickness. (We must be the only people who can eat our lunch while people vomit violently...LOL.) So much happens around him and to him, that I am amazed that he has reactions at all sometimes.

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Die Zimtzicke - May 31, 2006 10:04 pm (#80 of 92)

I'd buy his lack if visible grief easier if he hadn't had such a severe reaction to Cedric's death, having nightmares, and talking in his sleep etc.

Harry didn't know Cedric that well. Yes, he also felt guilty about that death, but Cedric never meant as much to him as Sirius.

Why show it for Cedric in such a blatant way, and do Sirus so subtlely that some fans don't even see it?

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TheSaint - Jun 1, 2006 3:50 am (#81 of 92)

The more of it you experience, the less the reactions become. Believe me.

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Laura W - Jun 1, 2006 4:29 am (#82 of 92)

Or maybe the reactions just change form, Saint? Or one develops different coping mechanisms? Which might explain the very different ways Harry reacted to Cedric's death and to Sirius'. (And to Dumbledore's?)

Please excuse me for referencing American pop culture here, but I remember one episode of MASH where a young soldier who Radar had befriended died during surgery. Talking to one of the more seasoned surgeons, Radar said he felt ashamed that he was crying over this. The doctor - who was dry-eyed - told him he had no reason to be ashamed. "When is the last time you felt like crying?" asked the clerk. "What time is it now?" replied the doctor, sadly but calmly.

Jo certainly could have had Harry react in book six to his godfather's death in a similar way to how she had him react in book five to Cedric's, but she chose not to. I believe she thinks these things - as with everything in the series - out *very* carefully and made this decision deliberately, for whatever reason. Still, obviously, it's up to each of us whether we can accept her scenerio... which, of course, is what this thread is about.

Laura

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Die Zimtzicke - Jun 1, 2006 9:24 am (#83 of 92)

Yes, it's up to each of us to decide for ourselves if we liked the way the grieving was done or not. There is no wrong way or right way to see it. If you think Sirius deserved more of a rememberance than he got, that's fine. If you're happy with it going down the exact way it did, that's your right.

We just have to admit not everyone did.

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Laura W - Jun 1, 2006 2:17 pm (#84 of 92)

Torill wrote, "Not even Lupin shows any reaction, and he ought to have felt the loss keenly, if that hug in PoA means anything at all. Neiter does he ever approach Harry about it, not even with a simple: how are you holding up? This portrays Lupin as neglective of Harry's needs in my not so humble opinion - but to discuss how this reflects on Lupin's character should probably happen in another thread"

Not at all. You are in the right thread with this. The official thread topic here is "Grieving realistically portrayed?"; not "Harry's grieving realistically portrayed?" That is, how all the characters in the HP series grieve and if we believe it is realistic for that particular person. So, carry on with Lupin - or anyone else - if you desire, Torill.

Laura

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SilverMoonLady - Jun 1, 2006 8:07 pm (#85 of 92)

I also remember being a little miffed on first reading HBP, because among other things, Sirius's death seemed to affect Harry & company so little. But on reading further, rereading and thinking about it all, it seems to me that we are seeing in Harry someone who has come to realize that temper tantrums and letting emotions run wild without the check of intellect and caution is *dangerous*. As someone else mentioned above, refocusing the anger & grief into doing what is necessary seems to be the conscious way he chooses to cope with it. As for the adults involved, it should be remembered that the story is told through Harry's eyes alone - and I can't imagine Lupin or any of the others making a show of their grief in front of him.

Alongside all of that, however, come the memories of my own reaction to the sudden loss of someone, and it was very much like Harry's as it turns out. After the initial fears, tears & denial, the first week or two seemed to pass in a kind of limbo. And after that, *life went on*. It still shocks me to this day. But work, school, living just kept going and demanded its share of my focus, energy and thought.

I'm a total angst maven, nothing I like more than tragedy, and I think that even though I totally thought I wanted some major gnashing of teeth on Harry & company's part over Sirius, JKR did a much more realistic job than I would have:)

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TomProffitt - Jun 1, 2006 8:25 pm (#86 of 92)

Bullheaded empiricist
A number of years ago my 13 year old nephew lost a long battle with cancer. I'm not typically an emotional person and did very little grieving over his death. Until the funeral. I was a wreck for about an hour at the funeral. Then after the funeral I was "essentially" done with the grieving. I haven't had that strong an emotion over any other loss (but have probably not lost anyone else remotely that close to me either). So, I think grieving can be very relative.

Sirius was disproportionately important to Harry than we may think was realistic for him to be. But, we see from very early in book one that Harry is yearning for something he can call his own family. We still see shadows of it in HBP, but not quite as strong. Sirius was a life preserver for Harry, a ready made family he could latch onto. Harry needed what Sirius represented more than he needed Sirius himself.

But has the grieving been realistically portrayed? We really haven't seen the major characters lose someone important to them. Sirius is arguably close for Harry, but even so I think his grieving was with in the norms.

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Laura W - Jun 2, 2006 5:49 am (#87 of 92)

Tom, it is very possible that I am reading your post incorrectly but are you saying that Harry did not feel close to Sirius? If so, I do not how you can read chapter 37 of OoP and say that. Of course Harry wanted a family, but he obviously really cared for Sirius Black as a person as well. Such phrases as "there was a terrible hollow inside him he did not want to feel or examine, a dark hole where Sirius had been, where Sirius had vanished;" and "He could see the Quidditch stadium in the distance. Sirius had appeared there once, disguised as the shaggy black dog, so he could watch Harry play ..."

And the two segments of conversation between Dumbledore and Harry in that same chapter:

"I DON'T CARE!" Harry yelled ... "Oh yes you do," said Dumbledore. "You have now lost your mother, your father, and the closest thing to a parent you have ever known. Of course you care."
"... said Dumbledore. "You see, Kreatcher was not able to betray us totally ... But he gave Narcissa information of the sort that is very valuable to Voldemort ..." "Like what?" said Harry. "Like the fact that the person Sirius cared most about in the world was you," said Dumbledore. "Like the fact that you were coming to regard Sirius as a mixture of father and brother."

I'm afraid that I cannot agree with your statement that Sirius was "disproportionately" important to Harry - Merlin's beard! In GoF he lived on rats and stayed in his dog form so that he could be physically close in case Harry needed him! - or your statement that none of the major characters has lost anybody important to them (again referring to Harry and Sirius).

If, on the other hand, I misunderstood what you wrote above, I apologize in advance.

Laura

Not to mention the loss of Luna's mother and her reaction to that and the loss of Cedric and Cho's reaction to that (I do not take that relationship as frivolously as some). Neville suffered a tremendous loss as well. And Lupin's life has been one continuous loss (ie - health, future, love, companionship, financial security, self-esteem). Loss takes many forms and it is part of the human condition to grieve - each in our own way, and to a greater or lesser degree - over all of them.

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TomProffitt - Jun 2, 2006 7:14 am (#88 of 92)

Bullheaded empiricist
Laura, think about how much time Harry was actually able to spend with Sirius in the brief time that he knew him. In PoA it amounted to less than one day. In GoF actual time spent with Sirius was no more than two days tops. I'd have to check my book to be certain, but actual time spent with Sirius in OP was about one month in the summer and one week at Christmas. I am asserting that Harry did not have time and opportunity to develop a genuine serious relationship with his godfather. I think that this changes the way that Harry would grieve for Sirius. Harry would be as much or more grieving or the loss of what could have been than the loss of what had been.

So, what I am saying about the Harry and Sirius relationship is not that they were not important to each other. I believe they did not actually have the opportunity to develop the kind of relationship which would have brought about a deeper stronger grieving that some may have expected of Harry.

On the other point regarding seeing significant loss in the other main characters, I was referring to the three characters we actually spend enough time with to get a thorough understanding of what is taking place. Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Certainly other characters have experienced significant loss, but we aren't around them enough to know the full extent of what is taking place.

How can we know if Cho's loss is realistically portrayed when we see her only through Harry's love struck eyes in short brief fleeting glimpses?

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Laura W - Jun 3, 2006 2:07 am (#89 of 92)

" I am asserting that Harry did not have time and opportunity to develop a genuine serious relationship with his godfather. I think that this changes the way that Harry would grieve for Sirius. Harry would be as much or more grieving or the loss of what could have been than the loss of what had been. "So, what I am saying about the Harry and Sirius relationship is not that they were not important to each other. I believe they did not actually have the opportunity to develop the kind of relationship which would have brought about a deeper stronger grieving that some may have expected of Harry."

Ah! Now I understand exactly what you were saying in post #68 and, as you wrote it in the above paragraphs, I cannot *completely* disagree with you, Tom.

Of course, some would say that the relationship between Harry and Sirius lasted a full two years (ie - from June of Harry's third year till June of Harry's fifth year). Maybe they did not spend a lot of time together, but...

Harry did feel close enough to write Sirius - and only Sirius - when his scar hurt so badly in Chapter Two of GoF ( "What he really wanted was someone like - someone like a parent; an adult wizard whose advice he could ask without feeling stupid, someone who cared about him,... And then the solution came to him. ... - Sirius.")
Sirius cared so much about Harry that he risked everything by coming back to the country (UK) where he was a wanted fugitive when he got Harry's owl and thought it meant danger for his godson. (GoF, Chapter 14).
Even though it meant forgoing the comfort and even help that Sirius might have been able to give him, Harry sent his godfather an owl containing the lie that he had just imagined his scar hurt him; because Harry was determined not to put Sirius in danger, no matter what. (GoF, Chapter 15)
When things were going so terribly for him at Hogwarts in his fifth year (eg - Hagrid missing, Dumbledore avoiding him, extra lessons with Snape, Umbridge's torture), the one comfort Harry had - aside from Ron and Hermoine - was that he could write Snuffles about this (OoP, Chapter 14).

I agree with you that Harry was mourning the future with Sirius that he had lost, but I still contend that he was also deeply grieving the past (ie - previous two years) with Sirius that he had lost.

I also understand the point you are making, Tom. That being: the way in which each reader views the relationship between Harry and Sirius influences how that reader reacts to the way Harry's grief was portrayed at the end of OoP and throughout HBP. An astute observation.

Laura

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Anna L. Black - Jun 23, 2006 12:19 am (#90 of 92)

I also remember being a little miffed on first reading HBP, because among other things, Sirius's death seemed to affect Harry & company so little. But on reading further, rereading and thinking about it all, it seems to me that we are seeing in Harry someone who has come to realize that temper tantrums and letting emotions run wild without the check of intellect and caution is *dangerous*. - SilverMoonLady

I think this is exactly the reason for the difference between Harry's reactions in the end of OotP and his reactions in the beginning of HBP. Harry blames himself for Sirius's death - he acted so much upon his emotions, and that brought, ultimatively, a terrible result. So after the first shock and the initial emotional reactions (trying to Crucio Bellatrix, for example), he starts to understand that he has to focus on something else rather than the emotions themselves - hence, the obsession with which he follows Draco.

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Die Zimtzicke - Jun 23, 2006 5:27 pm (#91 of 92)

But in the end, he cannot control his emotions again, as Snape reminds him when they are battling. Harry may know it's dangerous, but over and over in HBP he lets it keep happening.

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Solitaire - Jun 23, 2006 8:30 pm (#92 of 92)

I worry that if Harry's success depends on mastering his emotions, he may be toast. Harry wears his heart upon his sleeve. It's part of what makes him who he is. His pain and rage are so close to the surface right now over the deaths of Sirius and Dumbledore that he is one big, exposed nerve. I hope he has and takes the time over the summer to address how all of this will affect his success in defeating Voldemort.

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